The crisis due to lack of awareness for untreated sleep apnea (OSA) not only affects the adult population, but also quite alarmingly, in children. Children are often mis-diagnosed with behavioral issues and end up taking prescription medication and/or other “band aid” remedies that do not address root cause. Children’s airway problems can cause poor performance and behavior at school, public or social gatherings, lack of energy or drive, and most importantly, their confidence and the ability to thrive and grow properly. Here at Nevada Dental Sleep, we take Pediatric Dental Sleep Medicine very seriously.
What often happens for children stems from epigenetic and environmental factors after birth. Being properly breast fed (Koala hold position), masticating and eating solid foods and creating craniofacial signaling for proper growth and development are all key elements. When there’s violation or a deficit of those factors, the child’s body compensates. Furthermore, oxygen deprivation at night (hypoxemia) and the viscous sympathetic over response that occurs from night after night ends up in neurological (loop gain) and even mental/ behavioral issues.
A picture to paint for children’s airway and sleep issues starts off with these compensations. Soft tissues such as tonsils and adenoids swell up/ enlarge due to these insults and deficits. As tissues become inflamed, it becomes more and more difficult for the child to breathe and sleep properly at night. It would be as if the child is choked over and over again throughout the night with arousals and sleep fragmentation. A tired child may then go to school, very irritable, not able to concentrate and thrive, and cannot perform to the fullest potential due to the sleep/airway problems. Then often, and unfortunately, they may be mis-diagnosed as having ADHD, ODD, and/or other behavioral related diagnoses.
At Nevada Dental Sleep, we look a children wholistically. We not only offer functional orthodontic expansion options, but also myofunctional therapy, cranial work, and also connect with allied healthcare professionals such as chirodontics, neuromuscular, nutritionists, etc. Additionally, we are able to influence craniofacial development with orthodontic expansion and solidify nasal breathing, lip seal and proper tongue positioning. Together, we will improve quality of life and give the chance for our pediatric patients to thrive and grow properly to their fullest potential.